From the Stands: Round 7

Well the pressure cooker will be well and truly turned up over the next couple of weeks as the mighty Green Machine look to notch up a couple of wins and get the season back on track.

Karma is a cruel beast. Last week I called Newcastle’s attack uncreative and then our boys went on to score 12 points. Yikes!

I’m not sure if Joey Leilua has a communicable disease or he was really that good.

A few times he made the boys look a little silly and I’m sure our defensive line will be out to prove a point this week.

Red hot tip - if a bloke has a palm bigger than bigger than a baseball mit, feel free to have a crack at the legs.

This week gives us a chance to build confidence and tackle one of our bunnies in the Melbourne Storm.

Yep, those purple pride chanting no names that only put 68 on us in the corresponding game last year. Pfft! Karma has taught me nothing.

It should be a cracker of a game at GIO Stadium Canberra as the Storm managed to find a little bit of form last Monday with a last minute, albeit controversial, victory.

But then again, who doesn’t find form against the Dragons?

Aside from shutting down the usual big names, another huge threat is lurking in the centres this week – Justin O’Neill.

It is vital the boys learn from last week’s game and give O’Neill absolutely no space.

In our favour is the fact that our stellar defensive back row is together again.

Joel Edwards, Josh Papalii and Shaun Fensom will be out to leave plenty of bruises on the opposition. A big congrats on the re-signing by the way, Joel!

I’m really looking forward to seeing how our halves respond this weekend.

Pressure is building on Jack Wighton and Terry Campese and different players respond to pressure in different ways.

Some players respond by soaking it up like a sponge and others collapse under the weight of expectation.

For the sake of the greatest club in the NRL, I’m backing them both to soak it up like a couple of shamwows. C’mon boys!

Another interesting battle is between that of the master and the apprentice – Billy Slater vs Anthony Milford.

Slater isn’t in the greatest of form and aside from being just 19 years of age, the skilful dynamo that is Milford is in great form.

Slater is likely to retain his Origin spot due to Queensland loyalty (easy to be loyal when you’re winning!), but an impressive performance from Milford this weekend could give QLD selectors food for thought.

The rest of it, as it always does, comes down to a total team performance from the Raiders.

Melbourne has always been very good at winning the ruck but this is a battle we have to take right to them.

If we’re caught lying about like Pinocchio, we’ll be in big trouble.

Ruck speed, dominant tackles and winning the wrestle (dare I mention it) is key.

Much of this responsibility sits with our forward pack, so be prepared to come out firing, boys!

It promises to be a tough game but a great game. Victory is well within the reach of the mighty Green Machine if we’re up for it.

Carn Raiders!